Back pain and me: are you sitting comfortably?
Got a niggling pain in your back? Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Back pain is one of the most common reasons for people to speak to a doctor. In fact, it’s one of the top three reasons people make an appointment with us.
Most of the time, back pain is nothing serious. You should be back to normal in no time at all. But if you’re concerned, you can always book an appointment with one of our doctors.
What’s causing my back pain?
The cause of back pain isn’t always clear. It can be from a sudden movement that puts stress on your back – like lifting something heavy. Or you might have strained your back muscles/or ligaments while playing sports.
Another common cause is poor posture. As more people find themselves working from home, their workplace setups might not be helping their back pain. If you often find yourself hunched over a laptop screen without decent support, your back muscles could be suffering.
When should I be concerned about back pain?
Back pain isn’t always a major cause for concern. Most back pain issues go away after a few weeks or months. But if you find your back pain is unmanageable or it’s keeping you from sleep or other activities, speak to a doctor.
Consult a doctor immediately if you have back pain with any of these symptoms:
- Numbness or tingling around your genitals or anus
- Weakness, numbness, or unsteadiness affecting the legs
- Bowel or urinary incontinence
- Difficulty passing urine
How do you treat mild back pain?
You can manage most cases of mild back pain with home treatment.
- For pain relief, take an anti-inflammatory (e.g. ibuprofen) and place hot and cold packs on the affected area
- Painkillers cannot cure back pain, but they can help you get moving again – speak to your pharmacist of GP about the right painkiller for you in the short term
- Stay active – sitting or lying for long periods makes the pain worse
- Try gentle stretches for the area and keep active by walking or swimming
- Avoid any heavy lifting or strenuous activity until you feel better
How can I prevent mild back pain?
Avoiding back pain is easier said than done – but there are some ways you can reduce your risk:
- Avoid lifting heavy objects or use proper lifting technique
- Live a healthy lifestyle: exercise regularly, eat healthily and maintain a healthy weight
- Stop smoking
- Correct your posture when working at a desk or watching tv
- Avoid sitting for long periods
Get the help you need
If your back pain doesn’t seem to go away, or you’re finding the pain hard to manage, our GPs can help.
We offer appointments with trained GPs 24/7, by video or phone, whenever you need them. Our doctors can put you in touch with specialised support and get you the prescriptions you need.